Before she was all "Fancy", Iggy Azalea was establishing herself as pretty hard-edged. We have featured Iggy Azalea on this blog several times - before AND after "Fancy".
This song, her first collaboration with T.I., is one that we've missed, mostly because we never found a great spot to slot her in that flowed with the feeling we were going with - either in genre, or theme. I've had this song sitting in my drafts for a couple of years.
The song appears on her 2012 EP Glory and would serve as her debut single (although "Beat Down" came a few months earlier, that was Steve Aoki and Angger Dimas's single, not hers). For those not familiar with Steve Aoki, seeing a long-haired blonde Australian girl coming with an in-your-face style of hip hop was a bit of a shock.... but in a good way.
Here she is performing the song live in 2013. It is one of the first times she had ever performed live, and she absolutely brought the house DOWN.
This song sounds really cool, right? I mean, the guitar rift is one of the greatest from the mid-1990s. Richard Patrick's delivery of his song is spot on.
So, listen to the song first with no preconceptions about what the song is about. Just enjoy the song.
In January 1987, Robert Budd Dwyer, Pennsylvania State Treasurer, was convicted of bribery and was due to be sentenced for up to 55 years in prison. The day before his sentencing, he held a press conference, maintaining his evidence. At some point during the conference, he pulled out a revolver and took his own life, without injuring anyone else.
So, that's the "Nice Shot" Filter is referring to. This song is about that incident. There were rumors it was about Kurt Cobain. Those are not true - the song was written in 1991.
So, now listen to it again, with that in mind. But here's a live version for you.
I won't be posting video of the incident. If you want to see that sad, tragic spectacle, you can look for it yourself.
I wanted to make sure I posted a band that Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor has obviously never heard of.
In all seriousness, this song, an acid house classic, was a top 20 UK hit for Primal Scream in 1990 and is widely regarded as one of the greatest dance songs of all time.
I agree with that assessment - I played it on college radio the ONE NIGHT they let me do the dance show. I don't think this was a contributing factor to me not doing that again (I made some questionable choices) but I thought it was great and I was certainly dancing to it in the studio, quite similarly to how I am dancing to it right now, as I write this.
The song samples lines from the movie The Wild Angels.
Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus were looking to become better known songwriters. Sure, they were known in Sweden, but not much outside. So, how does a European group get attention for their songwriting?
Easy. Enter the Eurovision Song Contest.
Which this song won in 1974, as Sweden's entry. And, it won handily.
This single was the first credited to the group as ABBA, is is likely the only song ever to compare a relationship to a Napoleonic battle. Usually, a song like this i.e. one that wins Eurovision isn't all that popular outside of Europe, but this song was different, igniting their fame worldwide.
It is widely considered to be the greatest song to come out of a Eurovision competition.
Of course, in order to QUALIFY for Eurovision, they had to perform the song for Sweden. Which they did, at Melodifestivalen, a Swedish music festival for the purpose of picking the Eurovision competitor. You might notice this version is a little different.
By the way, lest you think I'm kidding about this Eurovision stuff, here are ABBA, watching the results come in, followed by them performing the song as winners.
This is exactly the type of post that Scott would have posted. And yet, here I am, unapologetically posting country gospel.
Look, let's get it out of the way. It's a pretty straight-forward modern country song, with pretty blatant Christian overtones. It's about a woman praying she doesn't die when she hits a patch of black ice. Moreover, it's a song that demands a broad vocal range.
This song was American Idol winner Carrie Underwood's first Country #1 hit song (she would go on to have 15, so far). It also crossed over and became a Top 5 Christian hit (a chart she would later top, twice), and a top twenty POP hit - a chart she had previously topped with her debut single. This was her 2nd single.
And yeah, it won several awards, including two Grammys.
To call this song influential and important is not hyperbole. It set the direction of Underwood's music, away from the pop idol sphere in which Simon Cowell's greatest creation usually played, and it established her as a leading cross-genre artist for a generation.
When I wrote that original post, I made a bit of a flippant comment - "A reminder that this is the same person who played the dumb blonde in Mean Girls".
Which is true. She did.
She has since been nominated for an Academy Award (for Mank), and has continued to demonstrate that she is both a talented actress and musician with great depth. Seyfried's discography is absolutely loaded with covers - many tied to her movies - but this song, from her 2010 film Dear John, is not only not a cover, SHE wrote it.
You know, we've gone this whole month and we haven't even acknowledged Pride Month.
This song, originally pitched to Anne Murray, was written by Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg about Kelly's mother. When Cyndi Lauper got a hold of the song, it became something so much bigger - a song of empowerment and encouragement.
It was also become an anthem of LGBTQ pride. In fact, the song resonated with Lauper specifically because she had recently lost a good friend to AIDS - a good friend who had been ejected from his home at age 12 for the crime of being gay. One of the great things that Lauper has done is founded the charity now known as True Colors United, a group dedicated to the unique problems of LGBTQ youth homelessness.
If I were to ask you "what was the first US Top Ten hit by Genesis", you'd be hard pressed to come up with this 1983 hit. And yet, this little song with a Ringo Starr-esque drum part is indeed the right answer.
It's also their first appearance on Wicked Guilty Pleasures, so......
That drum riff was absolutely intentional. This song was Phil Collins's attempt to write a catchy pop song a la The Beatles.
If you have been reading this blog for a while, you probably expected a Charli XCX song to be the 1000th post. Long-time readers of this blog will recall that I used to post about Charlotte Aitchison more than I even post about Béatrice Martin now. That MAY be the only time those two artists will ever be mentioned in the same sentence. Trust me. I Googled that.
Anyway, this isn't the 1000th post. It's number nine hundred and ninety nine.
In 2013, I thought Charli was ahead of her time. Her 2013 album True Romance was a revelation - at the time, I said, and I quote, " Every single song can stand alone - and several have as singles - but the sum of all the parts - a dark pop gem that teeters between love and heartbreak - is so much greater." Its follow-up Sucker was solid. Of course, there was also "Fancy".... you know, the post where I admitted I had a Charli XCX problem.
Then came Vroom Vroom. The post I did about this song on September 1st, 2016 is the last time I posted about Charli XCX. I had misgivings about the song but spun it positive. Still, I found this period to be a step in a direction in which I wasn't interested - her subsequent single just didn't interest me. So, I turned my back on this music, and, frankly, her catalog.
I even unfollowed her on Instagram.
In the ensuing years, she has released a couple of albums and mixtapes. She's taken a stronger electronic direction, and a lot of it is really good. I largely ignored her late 2017 mixtape Pop 2, and that was a huge mistake, because that represents her best work since True Romance.
Apparently, though, I'm not the only one who missed Pop 2, because this video, released in April 2021, is for a song from that mixtape that has found a new life on TikTok. It would appear that the world has finally caught up to this artist ahead of her time.
I'm not going to show you the countless TikTok videos that are set to this song. I AM going to share a performance of the song, featuring Kim Petras, from 2019. I have always had respect for the fact that Charli performs her songs live, and doesn't rely on a helper track for all her vocals. Not every artist does that.
So I was minding my own business the other day. You know, doing normal Internet stuff before I headed off to work. Check Facebook, read a couple comics, update my fantasy baseball teams and lastly check Twitter. Big mistake (on the last one).
"Kinda want to bring @sneezeguard back to #WickedGP for a day so I don't have to write a @taylorswift13 post...." - Anthony D'Orazio @RedArgyle
Really? Called out on Twitter. I thought about it though and said, "maybe?" Sure I haven't done a Wicked Guilty Pleasures or Totally Covered post in like seven or eight years but it's just like riding a horse with three legs. Right? (By the way I left the kooshie blog world to run a Country Music website and then moved on to an outlaw country site where I seemed to only talk about metal or alternative bands, before settling in to "semi-retirement" after a stroke...seriously).
Could I spend an hour a week barely talking about specific songs while using the occasional clever reference? I don't know. Maybe...
So here we are...coming back stronger than a 90's trend.
In 2013, I wrote a post about a song, by a pop duo called Karmin. It was I believe the 4th post about them on this blog - there were another bunch on Totally Covered. Without actually counting, I think this might be the most I've posted about any single artist thus far.
The duo was a real-life engaged couple, Amy Heidemann and Nick Noonan.
In 2014, Karmin fired their record label - who weren't promoting them -and began releasing music on their own.
Fast forward to 2017. At this point, the music had changed, and Karmin morphed into Qveen Herby, with the now-married couple both involved BUT with Nick behind the scenes and Amy billed as a solo act. They - she - proceeded to release a ridiculous number of EPs.
The debut Qveen Herby full-length album, A Woman, was released in May 2021. I'm happy to be able to share a pretty great single from that album.
On this blog, we've had three Hall of Fame inductees - Nirvana, P!nk, and the first, Katy Perry. When we inducted Katy Perry, she had only TWO albums released.
We had so much material JUST from what she had released thus far, we left stuff OUT.
This song, from her landmark 2nd album Teenage Dream (this version technically from Teenage Dream; The Complete Confection 2012 reissue), was one of those outtakes. This, the fourth single from that album, was also her 5th #1 hit in the US, and the 4th from that album, making it (at the time) only the 7th album to achieve that milestone - it would go on to produce a 5th #1 single, only the second album to ever achieve that (Michael Jackson's Bad being the first). (The Complete Confection would spawn a 6th #1, by the way)
So, on the strength of two albums, Katy Perry was a Hall of Famer in our eyes. History has already been kind to both Katy Perry and to Teenage Dream. And this collaboration with Kanye West is quite interesting and a bit of a departure from the rest of the album, taking a harsher edge tone.
Katy still performs this song live - but this is one of the FIRST times she ever did.
This song, her second single, was a top 10 hit, but mostly off digital download, as it was a bit of an explicit song - "just turn around boy, and let me hit that" - and GOD FORBID a woman be as explicit as the men.
Kesha herself co-wrote the song, as she has done with most of her music. Her performance overshadowed any participation by 3OH!3 (whose Sean Foreman was also a co-writer), who had their biggest hit with this song as well.
We know that, since these songs came out, that Kesha has had some troubles and some tribulations, which we have discussed extensively in other posts. Because of all that, we're also still happy to have these songs and happy that Kesha is still making music.
The best laid plans sometimes get disturbed by new releases. Indeed, in this little review of the first 1000 posts, I had not intended to highlight Poppy, who isn't someone we've posted MUCH on this blog, but who has been an interesting and unusual force in the recording industry and performance art. Not that she doesn't deserve the attention - she's been featured previously on this blog. We just haven't found a place to slot her in more. There's a lot of guilty pleasures, folks!!!!
However, I promised myself that I would post this at the soonest opportunity I could, as soon as it was released.
Poppy first performed this song on the 63th GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony, unexpectedly debuting a new song as opposed to the song for which she was nominated. She finally released it on Tuesday (June 8th, if you are reading this later) as part of the Eat EP, which is a sonic wonder in and of itself. The song is an angry, appealing, noisy revelation.
This did bump another post, but we will feature that at a later date. Don't worry.
A few years ago, we did a week of Fleetwood Mac posts.
Several of those posts are the most popular we've ever written. By a lot.
Clearly, we leaned heavily on Rumors, but not just. However, because of that, we had to leave out a few great songs that really deserved a highlight.
This song. which was recorded in the middle of the night in 1976 and features some unusual instruments, like breaking glass and an electric harpisicord. It quickly became a classic and a signature Stevie Nicks tune.
My immediate internal reaction when I saw that was, "you mean that girl who sang 'Candy'?"
There is a large subset of you reading this who are a little surprised that the mom from This Is Us was not only a pop star - at 15! - but a peer of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera who was actually making the same kind of music. And she was mentioned in the same breath as those huge stars, because her music was that catchy, and her voice was that strong - and still is.
So, big TV star Mandy Moore, who does XTC covers and classy folk-pop music now..... you might think she'd be embarrassed by this song now..... right?
I've got to be honest. When I started writing this, I expected to find an old performance of this song from year 2000 late night television - and I found a LOT of those. I didn't expect to find this. This incredibly solid performance that brings a fair bit more soul to the song is from February 2020.
Next week, we post our 1,000th blog entry. Let's spend some time looking back on some of the more important posts on this blog.
Lorde has always been popular on this blog. Our post about her song "Tennis Court" is the most popular by any solo artist on here. You would have thought it would be a different song, but no. Every Lorde post has done well, though.
In 2017, Lorde released her long-awaited 2nd album, Melodrama. She hasn't released anything since, despite the critical acclaim she received for songs like this, which was co-written by Lorde and Jack Antonoff.
While this song didn't chart in the US, it was a minor hit worldwide... and it's an incredible, epic song.
Lorde performed this song live many times, in different versions. In this version, she stripped it down, making it less epic and more intimate. I almost like it better.
This 1984 single, the lead single from her album A Private Heaven, was a huge hit almost everywhere in the world.... but not her native UK. Go figure. It was a departure from her more innocent love songs to a more adult, more suggestive sound - a sound she'd continue to pursue in a future collaboration with Prince.
I found early Sheena Easton to be boring, but 12-year-old Tony really enjoyed this song... and I still do. Also, great, now you know how old I am.
It seems noteworthy to say that she performed the song in a 1986 commercial in Japan while dressed as a geisha.
We posted about Tracy Bonham on this blog almost nine years ago. It i incredible to me that I am still writing this so far in the future from that.
We referred to the fact that she was a one hit wonder. This was that hit. In reality, she had a 2nd hit - which I will post another day. This was by far her biggest one, however, and for good reason - it takes a completely relatable story of a girl who has moved out of her mother's house and is trying to reassure mom that EVERYTHING'S FINE, even though it isn't.
This video, which got a lot of MTV airplay, features Tracy's actual mother on vacuum.
This version of the video was made for VH1, which had an audience that skewed older and more family-friendly. I guess trying on clothes in a closet mutes the primal scream that EVERYTHING'S FINE.
The VH1 video makes it a little clear, but this live performance makes it more abundantly clear that Tracy is playing a fiddle, and uses it to convey a tone shift and to punctuate the fact that EVERYTHING'S FINE.
It has been a hell of a year already for Béatrice Martin.
She bought her record label - Dare To Care Records - and renamed it Bravo Musique. SHe is now its owner, President, and A&R Director....
She had vocal cord surgery - to treat a hemorrhagic polyp. She seems to have recovered, although it left her completely silent for a while..
She dropped a surprise instrumental album on April 30th (Perséides), recorded while she was recovering from vocal cord surgery. It's a delight. Highly recommended. I cannot stop listening to it.
Plus she keeps getting featured on this blog written by some silly American fellow who discovered and fell in love with her music accidentally. Seriously. We've posted more Cœur de Pirate music here than any other artist thus far - this is the fifth post and I promise you there will be at least a 6th. I want to make sure I say that loud enough for the people in the back. A French-languange artist is making compelling, catchy music that transcends language barriers - again and again.
And today, I am launching a campaign to make this single, released May 28th, 2021, the 2021 Song of the Summer, in the United States. This is a catchy, mature, piano-synth heavy song that really deserves a lot of attention.
Whether I am successful or not, this song is MY Song of the Summer, because it is a delight.